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The True Theory of Induction

  • W. G. Davies (a1)

It has been said that recognition will come sooner or later to the man who can wait. With the gratifying exception of his long connection with this Journal, the writer cannot say that this has been his experience. In a work named “The Alphabet of Thought,” &c., published twenty-five years ago, was contained what he fully believes, after painstaking subsequent research, to have been the foreshadowing, at least, of one of the most important Laws of Thought. The late Dr. Mansel, Dean of St. Paul's, was acquainted with the writer's views, the work mentioned and the chief contents of this essay having been submitted to him, and the writer would here record his gratitude to the late Dean for the unusual courtesy with which he examined their contents. Since, however, the writer's views were strongly opposed to the Dean's, he never expected from that gentleman anything but adverse criticism. This fact has, however, completely failed to shake the author's confidence in conclusions which for nearly forty years he has submitted in vain to the most pitiless scepticism he could bring to bear upon them. Most of Mansel's strictures, together with the passages to which they refer, are here presented to the reader, and also extracts from letters received from the same gentleman bearing on the chief point herein discussed. Replies to both are given, combined with the later views at which the author has arrived.

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* “Principles of Psychology.” Introduction.
As in: A straight line is the shortest distance between two points.
The discussion between Mill and Herbert Spencer on this point is ably set forth in the 7th chapter, Book II., “Of Reasoning”—Mill's “Logic,” latest edition.
* This mast mean “ not always the fact” in a certain class of cases, but it is always the fact in the class of cases here mentioned.
* Mill's, “Logic,” People's Edition, p. 157. This is also the view which Prof. Huxley, in his Sketch of Hume (“English Men of Letters”) takes of this question. He regards the axiom of cansation as “a purely automatic act of the mind, which is altogether extra-logical, and would be illogical, if it were not constantly verified by experience” (p. 123).
“Logic,” People's Edition, p. 222.
Ibid., p. 258.
* Hamilton's postulate, “That we be allowed to express in language what is contained in Thought,” here applies.
* “Logic,” People's Edition, p. 256.
“Logic,” People's Edition, p. 365.
Mill's, “Philosophy Tested,” “Contemporary Review,” Jan., 1878, p. 263.
§ Hamilton's “Reid,” p. 389.
* “An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent,” p. 22.
See the writer's latest article in this Journal, “The Border Land between Physiology and Psychology: Singular Judgment,” July, 1880.
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
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The True Theory of Induction

  • W. G. Davies (a1)
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